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Job 2:1-8 – Satan's Written Off

He's just a bit player anyway.

Job 2:1-8 (ESV)

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.”

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.

Notice the phrase, “you incited me against him.” That seems like an odd way to describe what just happened. I’d expect God to say something like, “He still holds fast his integrity, though you destroyed him.

No, God clearly takes full responsibility for everything, as if Satan’s only role was to “incite” Him.

That’s because Satan is just a stooge. He has no idea where this is going. He was wrong about Job’s reaction to his first trial, and he’s about to be wrong about the second one.

Satan is nothing more than a puppet. He’s unaware of how minor his role is. He thinks he has struck massive blows and that he’s some big time player in an epic drama.

But Satan is about to be hit with the ultimate put-down – he’s canceled. God just writes him out of the script. Job 2:7 is the last mention of Satan in the whole book. His claim that Job would curse God is forgotten. Satan is a nobody and God treats him like an extra in a movie. No one’s interested in what happens with him next. The camera is following the action and just pans away.

The fact that this whole plot line is unceremoniously dropped shows that Satan’s claim about how Job would react is not what this book is about. It’s just a pretext. The real action and the real point of the book are yet to come.

God is the God of surprises on so many levels. Given the action so far, one might wonder if the point of all of Job’s suffering is to tweak Satan’s nose and to prove him wrong.

But why would God care about that? He can do anything he wants with Satan, including uncreate him retroactively. No, God has something far less boring in mind.

We have little understanding of God’s plans. Even when we think we know what God is up to, He can break out the next layer at any time.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

To download a free study guide containing the first six Job devotionals, plus some discussion questions, go here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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